As the Arts and Life editor for The DePaulia, the student newspaper of DePaul University, I get the occasional chance to talk to some pretty cool people. Last week I had the pleasure of speaking with local talent Sasha Go Hard and DJ Tony Roche about their spot on Diplo's Mad Decent Block Party tour, as well as upcoming projects and other things. Here's a little snippet of the interview:
Tony Roche, who produced "Rondo" and will DJ all of Sasha’s Mad Decent Tour shows, also can be seen in several of her videos getting loose along with Sasha and her friends. When contacted by phone, he recounted a performance from a previous show in Atlanta, which he described as a “crazy experience.”
“There were quite a few people; it was one of the biggest shows we’ve played,” Roche said. “And it was a different crowd too, which is good. It always helps to play for as many people and as diverse a crowd as you can.”
Sasha spoke well of Roche not only as a producer, but as a personality on stage as well.
“Me and Tony, we do damage when we get together,” she said. “It’s fun working with him – at shows he’ll jump in the crowd and everything.”
Last Friday, Sway kicked off Lollapalooza weekend right with a take over of New Era Chicago for a live broadcast of Sway in the Morning. A variety of Chicago artists were in the building and partook in the festivities as Sway interviewed them for their perspective on the Chicago scene and what each individual has going on. And it wouldn't be Sway In The Morning without freestyles... some of the artists kicked some rhymes as well.
I can say from personal experience that it was not only a great turnout of up and coming Chicago emcees (particularly in the drill scene), but that it was also warming to see the genuine love and engagement that Sway had with everyone — both on and off the airwaves. First, it was great that he came to town during our biggest music weekend and put the spotlight on these talented Chicago artists. And just as noteworthy: Sway was appreciative of everyone who just wanted to chat off-air as he asked for everyone's name, humbly accepted respect, and really wanted to get to know both the rising Chicago artists and the tastemakers behind the scenes. It really is refreshing when a living legend in the game like Sway is coming into Chicago with the love and curiosity to get to know the city more and do his part to spread the word. Need more people like that in the industry.
Anyway, all week, Sway has been releasing a few videos a day as part of what the morning show is dubbing '#ChicagoWeek'. Here are three that caught my eye for a variety of reasons, and the full list of artists and the released videos below (more to come tomorrow, I presume).
UPDATE: It is 'tomorrow' now as #ChicagoWeek concludes with the main event: a dope cypher from Naledge (Knowledge?!), MarVo, Giftz, & The Boy Illinois. There are highlights in every one: in particular, watch out for how Naledge and Giftz end theirs and MarVo and Illi grab your attention at the beginning of their rhymes. Dopeness!
Naledge, MarVo, Giftz, & The Boy Illinois "Sway In The Morning Cypher"
The Boy Illinois & MarVo on violence and lack of guidance in Chicago
King Louie on writing with Kanye West on "Send It Up" & "New Slaves"
Twista on how the music scene has changed in Chicago and advice to Chief Keef
Tibs forwarded me an email and all he said was "I think you'd like this one Be". On everything that I love, this is the best song that I've heard today, and I'm so far from kidding. It just puts you in a good mood and you can't help but laugh at lines like "got so many h**s, you can call me Kris Kringle"...but in a good way. Sasha shows up with another scene stealing verse as usual, and it's always great to hear from Ms. Go Hard. Dylan Prevails is also another newcomer and provides a bouncy, fun-loving beat that you have to turn up to. Download this. I promise you won't be disappointed.
BET released a documentary today titled Murder To Excellence: Life & Hip-Hop In Chicago that shed light on the connection between Hip-Hop and the violence that is taking place in Chicago. The documentary features Chicago rappers King Louie, L.E.P. Bogus Boys, Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, and more. It also feature community activsit Che "Rhymefest" Smith, Father Michael Pfleger, and others. Overall the idea behind the documentary was great. The fact that BET felt that what was going on here in Chicago needs to be brought to a brighter light I greatly appreciate because it is very true. Unfortunately the people in the video that have the most influence didn't offer any words of encourage or improvement for the streets of Chicago. I respect Rhymefest for giving the truth about what's going on in the streets then offering ways to combat it. To me it seemed that most of the artist gave an impression that this is normal and simply labled it as being "real". This to me only continues the violent cycle that we are in now. Don't get me wrong I don't expect these artist to clean the streets themselves, but they do carry enough clout in the streets to make a difference, which I think they dropped the ball on in this documentary. I commend Rhymefest, Father Pfleger, Cathy Cohen, TJ Crawford, & Monica Haslip for their work in the community in trying to break this vicious cycle of violence in Chicago. To the artist I just wished on top of telling the truth about what's going on in Chicago they then spoke to the youth about being better than this.
Overall I was happy with the documentary because it starts the conversation about making the necessary changes in Chicago to make this a better and safer place for us all. I just hope that the people with the loudest voice join in on the conversation, but if they don't we as the smaller voices still need to have this conversation and talk about this until its loud enough to be unavoidable.
Chicago's female hittas Sasha Go Hard, Katie Got Bandz, & Chella H join together for this banger "I'm Hotta". Three different artist with similar but different fan bases. Yeah, this song should buzz around the city quickly.